I Plan to Delete My YouTube Channel

February 21, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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My name is Chloe. I am a twenty-two-year-old college student from Minneapolis, and I am addicted to the internet. I keep a YouTube channel that I update every month with parodies of popular TV shows and the occasional video in which I address my viewers directly. Lately, however, something truly bizarre has been disrupting my channel.

It was the morning after I had uploaded a new video to my channel. It had been a thank-you to my viewers for helping me reach 100,000 subscribers, along with a montage of myself doing silly things my fans had suggested in the comments. So it came as a surprise when I checked how many views the video had and found it had more dislikes than likes. I had always put a lot of work into my videos, and my subscribers were fiercely loyal, so I failed to see how a video made specifically for them could be received so poorly. Looking through the comments, I saw dozens of phrases like “I don’t get it” and “What’s this supposed to be?” When I scrolled back up to the video, I realized it was not the one I had uploaded last night.

The video I had uploaded was five minutes long, with the title, “THANK YOU!” The video on my screen now was sixteen minutes long, and its title was just a time stamp. I went back to the previous page and saw that the real video was indeed on my channel, but this anomaly had been uploaded since then. Curious to see what it was, I clicked on the video and began to watch. My screen showed a girl busily typing away at a computer: me. Nothing happened for the entire duration of the video, and it ended abruptly and without explanation. I realized I must have left my camera running while I was editing “THANK YOU!” and somehow uploaded the junk footage with the intended video. After posting a comment apologizing for my mistake, I grabbed my textbooks and went to school for the day. I would delete the video when I had time that evening.

When I got home, I spent the next few hours finishing my homework and tidying my room. I ate a quick supper cobbled together from random stuff in the fridge, and got right back to work on my channel. I glared with frustration at the screen when I found that another unwanted video had been uploaded. This one was just over three hours long. It began with me lying on the floor, flipping through a textbook. Later, it showed me walking around my room, reorganizing my bookshelf and picking up the clothes I had worn yesterday. Near the end of the video, I walked out of the room, probably to get some supper.

What was going on with my computer? I had not even touched it since this morning. I had to do something about that camera, or it would only have been a matter of time before a video was posted of me changing my clothes or drying off after a shower. I delved into the innards of my laptop, trying to find the cancerous bit of code responsible for those accidental videos. I must have gone through every program and file three times over, but everything seemed to be in order. I gave up around midnight. I had a class at 8:30 the next morning, and I needed sleep. I put a sheet of paper in front of my camera so that, even if it did upload another video, my viewers would not see anything I did not want them to see. Exhausted, I turned off the lights and went to sleep.

I checked my channel before school the next morning. For some reason, it was exploding with activity. Every time I clicked the refresh button, the latest upload on my channel had a hundred new views. But how could a six-hour video with a solid black thumbnail and a time stamp for a title be so popular? I started the video, but nothing appeared to be happening. I looked in the comments for an explanation:

“Have you lost it? Why would you post this?”

“What happened to the old videos? Is this some kind of joke?”

“I don’t know what’s going on…”

(Reply) “Do you see it?”

(Reply) “See what?”

(Reply) “30:18. Watch closely.”

I skipped half an hour into the video, staring hard at the seemingly dead screen. Suddenly, it looked like something was moving. It was a hardly visible black-on-black shift that only lasted a few seconds, but when it was over, I could recognize the faint outlines in the darkness. It was my room, and the movement had been me, shifting in my sleep. How could the camera have seen this? Was the paper I had put in front of it not thick enough?

When the Chloe in the video shifted again, I froze. The camera angle in this video was different from the others. My bed could not be seen from my camera. This video had been taken from my bedroom window.

Credit To – Chloe Duchamp

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See You Tomorrow

February 20, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 25 – 4:54 PM

My name is Spencer. This is actually the first time I’ve logged onto this website…but my friends told me that this site is where people go to talk about this kind of stuff.

When I say “this kind of stuff,” I mean…paranormal things? Things just out of the ordinary, right? I’ve read some of the stories on this site and I couldn’t help but notice some similarities. Anyways – I might as well start at the beginning.

Something happened to my younger brother.

Out of respect for his privacy, I will leave his name anonymous for this post. We called him “Stretch” after he grew into a teenager…his arms and legs grew to phenomenal lengths, and he was about 6’2”. I still remember staying up late with him when we still shared a room as kids, making noises and getting in trouble…and now he’s in college, hundreds of miles away. It’s certainly strange how much you miss something when you realize you don’t have it anymore.

My family received a call from Stretch’s roommate (whom I will also leave anonymous) this afternoon at about 4:15 PM. He explained that when he woke up, he checked his cell phone to find a text message from Stretch that simply said: “see you tomorrow”. Stretch got in late the previous night, so the roommate assumed that he had sent the message in case the roommate got worried. The roommate then went to his morning class as usual…but to his surprise, Stretch did not wake up for his classes, which usually started at 9 AM. Stretch had never been the kind to skip classes…he was always very studious. The roommate didn’t give it a second thought, however, and went to his class anyways. The roommate returned after his classes at about 2 PM today, only to find Stretch, still asleep. After about an hour of studying in the dorm room, the roommate decided that he should wake Stretch up and question him as to why he had been sleeping so long…

But he did not wake up.

The roommate claims to have shaken Stretch, to the point of yelling at him and trying to move him out of the bed…but he would not wake up. The roommate took action, and after speculation, the RA for the dorm called the university police, who then transferred Stretch to the hospital. He has been there all afternoon, and they are still running tests on him.

I live in Kentucky, so I was not able to make it out to see him in the hospital…however, I just got off the phone with my mother. She informed me that the doctors refused to see any family members to discuss his condition. Only after incessantly pestering the doctors did she get an answer out of one of them: Stretch was in some kind of coma.

Why the doctors refused to discuss matters with my family is a mystery to me. I can only hope that they did so for a reason.

I will be flying in to see Stretch as soon as I can…I love my brother dearly, and nothing is going to stop me from seeing him.

Wednesday, March 26 – 10:34 PM

I have purchased my ticket for Nevada (my family’s current residence), and I hope to leave this Friday. I wished it could have been sooner…I had no sleep last night, worried about my brother, so a vacation is definitely needed right now.

Today, I got another call from my mom…and she sounded more distressed than she had yesterday. She explained that his roommate had been retrieving things from their dorm room to bring to Stretch in the hospital, and had stumbled upon Stretch’s cell phone. He checked his call history, and messages, to check for clues about what he did the previous night. He claimed nothing was out of the ordinary, until he checked the message inbox.

Stretch had sent, to every single person in his contacts, the same text message:

“see you tomorrow”.

I have been in the process of purchasing a new cell phone for a few months now…I didn’t see it as a priority, so I did not receive any message from my brother, which for some reason, deeply saddened me…I almost feel like a bad older brother, not being there for him when he needed it. And now he’s sent this one message to his entire contact list…

The doctors, my family, and my friends have told me today that I shouldn’t think too much about it. They were all very confident that it was just a mistake, and the original message had been intended for just his roommate. But I digress…I know Stretch better than anyone, and with the amount of tech-savvy he has, I couldn’t see him making a careless mistake like that.

He isn’t the typical college party-student, either. I can certainly ascertain that he wasn’t drunk that night, but I don’t have to – the doctors claimed that they found no alcohol in his system at all.

This all seems very disturbing to me…who just falls asleep, and then doesn’t wake up? How exactly does that happen? I can’t be sure…the doctors say that his coma could be for a number of different reasons, but they haven’t quite pinned it down yet – apparently Stretch’s particular case is “rare and almost unheard of”.

The important thing is that he’s still alive. His brain is still fully functional and in good shape.

He just won’t wake up.

Thursday, March 27 – 9:32 AM

I am going to write this all down while it’s still fresh. It seems that something else is going on with this entire situation, and I feel as though my brother’s coma is no mere coincidence. It turns out that my brother did send me a message that night, with the same text…but also something else.

My mother called me about an hour ago. She sounded exasperated and scared. It took me quite some time to calm her down so she could explain…but to put things simply, it seems as though Stretch attempted to send a picture file as well as a text. For some reason, the text messages he sent didn’t contain the picture, but one of my friends contacted my mother and informed her that his phone was attempting to download a file from the text message, but was unable due to the file being corrupted.

That got me thinking…if Stretch supposedly sent this message out to everyone in his contact list, wouldn’t that also include their e-mails…?

I checked my email for the first time in a few weeks, and sure enough, there was the message. “see you tomorrow”. I opened the e-mail and began downloading the picture file – what I saw was confusing to say the least. At first, it looks too dark to really make anything out…but I edited the picture as best I could (Stretch is the tech-savvy one, not me), and discovered something strange. It looks like a picture of someone’s forearm, just being held at their side. The person appears to be wearing a blue shirt, maybe a jacket or hoodie? I can’t tell…I could point out one thing, though. By looking even closer, I found a pennant, an Indianapolis Colts pennant, hanging on the wall behind the person. And if there was anyone who loved the Colts, it was my brother’s roommate, which led me to assume that the photograph had been taken inside his dorm room. I am going to attempt to upload the picture file so that anyone can see it, but I’m not quite sure how, or where to do it. When I do, I will be sure to post a link on this document before I upload this for submission.

Meanwhile, my mother says she has some terrible, terrible news to deliver, and that it has to wait until we are face to face…I’m just trying to remain calm. I’m not normally a superstitious person, so I will continue to keep my head up and hope for the best. I know he is going to wake up, soon.

I’m going home tomorrow to see Stretch, and hopefully sort all this out. Haven’t been getting very good sleep the past couple of nights either, so I can’t wait to get home and get a good rest.

Friday, March 28 – 11:57 PM

My flight got in this evening, at about 4:30.

When I landed, and got to a payphone to contact my family to let them know I was on my way, but…I wasn’t greeted by my family.

Because they couldn’t greet me.

I arrived home to find the house empty. No note, no answering machine message, or anything.

I soon drove to the hospital. When I arrived, the nurses all stared at me as I walked down the hallways. I stormed down the corridors, yelling at the doctors, asking for Stretch, asking for my family. Where the hell was my family?

One doctor stopped me, his face sullen and depressed. “You must be Spencer.”

“Yes,” I huffed impatiently. “Where is my brother? Which room?”

“He and your family are in room 115. Please come with me.”

“My family…”

I pushed past the doctor, running down the halls, until the number 115 popped up on my left. Upon entering, I stood in the doorway, unable to breathe, unable to speak.

I now understood why my family hadn’t answered the payphone…why they weren’t at the house…

…they were all asleep. All of them. My parents, my older sister, my grandma…

The doctors walked quietly in behind me. They all stood near me, just…watching. No one said anything. The room was eerily silent. And there I was – just staring at them. And there they were. Lined up in their beds. They didn’t talk. They didn’t move. They didn’t wake up.

I recovered my ability to speak after a while, and instantly demanded to know what happened. But the doctors just stared at me, some of them crying. I asked again and again, screaming at the top of my lungs, what happened to my family?…

One of the doctors took me aside. He instructed the others to leave the room, that he had things under control, that everything was going to be okay. Then he told me the same thing. Kind of like what your parents tell you that everything is going to be okay, when it clearly isn’t. He then began to explain exactly what it is that happened. I don’t know if I can bring myself to type in exactly what he said, except one fact: my entire family was dead. He said that after not receiving an answer when he called their house this morning, they sent a car to discover that they all had gone into a similar coma, and after just a few hours, all of their vitals stopped, including my brother’s.

I am now staying the night in my brother’s dorm room. His roommate is out for the evening. Here I am, past midnight, typing down all this crap like anyone could do ANYTHING about it. I don’t know whether or not I’m wasting my time with this, I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life now…I just can’t fathom everything that’s happened today. It took me long enough to be able to sit here and type it all out, and maybe all for nothing.

…But I did make another discovery…I’ll type it up here soon. I’m starting to get really tired, but I can’t go to sleep just yet. I have more to tell.

Friday night

Technically it’s the morning now…can’t exactly remember what the date is? Too lazy to check

It’s about 3 AM now, still no sleep. I got into my brother’s laptop because I know his password. Checked his recent fiels and everything. His browsing history is only one link

thestretch.blog.com

This blog he supposedly made contains the picture

Same picture he sent me that night. He put it online too, on his blog, in case anyone would find it, as if he already knew. Like he already knew what was happening to him. The picture is of him. He tried to photograph himself. I found his blue jacket in his closet and the exact spot he took the picture, right in front of a mirror. I guess he was just too tires to get his face in it ‘’’p;p

Sorry I am exteremely tired myself, this probably is a bit jumbled up but hopefully you can understand. I want to put this on this site now before its too late.

The doctor told me that my family’s death was not due to a coma, it was some kind of mental disease in which the central nervous system slowly begins shutting down all core bodily functions until the person is dead. A “mental virus” he called it. He informed me that it is highly contagious, but not in the way you would think =

Ready for this? He told me that the virus is caught only by people who KNOW about it. I actually forced him to tell me this, I threatened to hurt him when we were alone, I just wanted to help them, I just wanted to know what happened to my family

He said that this “virus” is dormant in a rare percentage of the human population, and it is only activated once a person actually finds out about it, and then falls asleep. Some kind of neurological phenomena I don’t know why he would tell my family that but he did. He did and now theyre dead. Supposedly

I honestly don’t believe in this kind of bullcrap, it doesn’t make sense, this paranormal gghost story kind of crap. I thought he was just saying things so I wouldn’t hurt him but whatever, I don’t care about that. I know I haven’t been getting the best sleep but I know I’ll wake up tomorrow. He has no proff to back this up.

Back to Stretch’s blog, he had written some post the day before, I don’t know what exactly he was talking about but I assume it was something to do with this. He knew about this virus and he didn’t want to continue to post it online in case it was true. He tried to photograph himself in the middle of the night to maybe tell someone what was happening? Maybe he was wrong

Maybe he was scared

It doesn’t matter anymore, I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow. And you’ll hear from me again, right here on this post. I know this stuff isn’t real

I’ll tell you and everyone I know that it isn’t real, youll see. Ill send everyone a picture, just like Stretch, because I really am feeling fine! Just tired ;

Until then

see you tomorrow

Credit To – Spencer Boden

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The House that Death Forgot

February 18, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Melinda hated driving at night. She did her best to avoid it. Short trips to the store if she just realized she ran out of tampons or had nothing for dinner after getting home; that sort of thing happened now and then. But she did her best not to go out after dark unless someone was coming to pick her up.

So, naturally, she found herself on the longest drive of her life tonight, with no moon, few stars, swirling clouds above her, and acres of forest on either side.

As so many unpleasant things in her life, this was her father’s fault. She hadn’t seen or spoken to the bastard in fifteen years, but just after falling asleep tonight…no, that was wrong. It would be yesterday by this time. Out of the blue, her phone rang, and his voice was on the other end.

“I need you, Mellie. Please come, now.” He’d said just that, and then the line went dead.

The old ass was probably drunk, but he’d never called her before, not since she was a child and he was still trying to convince her mother to take him back. It felt like she had been dreaming; waking up to hear his voice again after all these years. It sounded like he was crying. His voice sounded just the same as the last time she’d heard it.

As though in a dream, she had risen, dressed, and gotten in the car. She was well out of town and halfway to his old place before realizing that she had no way of knowing if he even still lived there. She received updates from her mother from time to time over the years about where he was. The last time she heard from her mother about him was seven years ago. Had he ever stayed in one place that long? Not to her recollection. She had been seven when her mother finally had enough and showed him the door. Prior to that, a move had come every few months. The house they had been living in was their longest stay in one place; a full sixteen months. It turned into two years after that, and then the next house had been the one she left when she moved out on her own. In all that time, she heard from him sporadically at best, and had finally decided it was best to simply forget about him.

Until tonight.

She had found out after a two-hour drive that she had been right to wonder if he was still in the same place. His last known address was a sketchy apartment in a low-income area of the town she had grown up in. Had he been number 24 or number 42? Maybe he was 14. It definitely had a four. It didn’t matter. His name wasn’t on any of the buzzers.

Bastard! Her drunk of a father had called her at night, all but demanding she come to him, for reasons he didn’t even feel were important enough to tell her over the phone, and then just expected that she would know where he lived now.

In a flurry of rage, she turned and marched back to her car, slamming the door and starting off in the direction she came. She was so angry she didn’t even look where she was going, and now she’d missed her turn-off.

The next thing she knew, she was on this lonely stretch of road. Cars were sparse, but she took some comfort in the fact that she would pass one every half-hour or so. Her dashboard clock now read 2:27 AM. She had been driving for more than five hours since leaving her house. At night.

Every five minutes or so she checked her cell phone. Ever since realizing she was lost, she had checked her phone and found no bars at all. She even stopped at a (closed, of course) gas station, just sure there should be some service around here somewhere, but nothing.

Take stock of your life, Mellie, she thought. You’re over thirty, you hate your job, you and your mother don’t get along, you haven’t seen or spoken to your father in just under half your life, you have no time for your friends or a relationship thanks to the aforementioned job you hate, and now here you are, trapped on a road you’ve never been on before, at night, and you can’t even so much as call AMA let alone check Google Maps. Smart lady you are.

She briefly considered stopping and flagging down the next car that passed. She quickly realized the futility of that plan. Any car on this road would also have no service. So there was nothing for it. She’d have to drive until she saw a house. She’d feel bad for waking someone up, but there was no choice. She needed to find her way back to the main highway.

But so far, all that she could see on either side was trees. Mile after mile of trees. No lights shining through the boughs. No sign that anyone had ever been here before, except that there was a road, and people were obviously still driving on it.

There weren’t even any road signs, other than the mile markers. Had she really found the middle of nowhere? She was just in the middle of this thought when her headlights illuminated something just up the road; a square, wooden sign, obviously made by someone other than the government. This wasn’t a gas/food/lodging sign, or a mile marker, or a distance-to sign. This looked like the kind of signs advertising a private business was nearby. She slowed down to read it:

Granny Royce’s Road House

Come stay the night at Granny’s!

She’ll take good care of you!

Room! Board! Low Prices!

Next Exit!

Her heart sped up. She certainly wasn’t interested in spending a night at Granny Royce’s, but every business had a phone. At the very least, she’d have a map, or know the way back to the highway. She decided she would stop there.

She almost missed the turn. Granny Royce’s Road House was buried at the back of a long, dirt driveway, secluded amid the trees. She was almost past the little dirt “road” that led back to it before realizing it was there. She skidded to a stop and turned in.

The little house lay ahead. It was two stories; looked to have about eight to ten rooms. Big for a home but small for anything announcing room and board. She got closer and looked for a vacancy sign; nothing. It wasn’t that the sign wasn’t lit; there was no sign. The porch light was on, and the front of the building was illuminated by that light, and by her headlights. No signs of any kind. She almost wondered if she’d gotten the wrong place, but she was certain that she had seen no other exits between this house and the sign announcing it.

She paused in the driveway and took out her cell again. Still no service. She did a quick search for any available wireless signals. To her complete lack of surprise, there were none. Not even any secured. There’s no one here but me, she thought. At this point, she wouldn’t be surprised to find the house empty, as well. But the light was on, and this was supposed to be a road house. Someone would be manning the front desk.

She got out of the car and headed for the front porch. As she turned around to make sure the lights flashed when she hit the lock button on her fob, she thought she could see a flash of movement in the trees. Something human-shaped. She stopped and looked again. Nothing. She decided she imagined it.

At the front door, she hesitated. If it really was a road house than she should be able to just go on in. But what if she got the wrong house? If she tried the door and just walked in, she could find herself arrested out here in Buttfuck, Nowhere.

Cautiously, she tried the knob. It turned. She pressed gently on the door. It opened. Relief flooded through her when she saw that she was in a small, but tastefully decorated foyer that had obviously been re-purposed as an admissions area. A quaint desk with an honest-to-god guest book had been placed in the far right corner, and some chairs had been set out, along with magazines on a table. She read the titles briefly–Mademoiselle, Blue Book, The New Country Life, Arts & Architecture–before turning her attention to the little desk.

There wasn’t a computer. That was a cute touch. It was like the house was from a past era. Perhaps old Granny Royce really didn’t like modern technology. There was, however, a little bell, just like there would have been in 1929. It wasn’t even the round silver kind you slapped to ring; it was a little porcelain hand-bell. This place was starting to out-cute her. Please let her have a phone, and please let it use the numberplan, not 50’s exchanges. She picked up the bell and gave it a shake.

For a while, nothing happened. Then she saw a light come on in the back room, and the shadow of an old woman sprang up on the wall. The shadow moved toward her, and within a few seconds she saw its owner; Granny Royce, who perhaps looked like every grandmother in every storybook ever.

“Well, goodness me,” she said. “My lands. Good morning deary. Pardon my tardiness but it’s been a while since we got guests at this hour. Can I take your name, honey?

Granny Royce was smallish, her grey hair tied in a neat bun behind her head, a dress that would have looked like it belonged to a senior citizen in the twenties, and a faded pink sweater. Melinda thought that she looked just like she would have wanted her own grandmother to look like, but her mother’s mother had died when she was young, and she’d never met her father’s mother. It almost hurt to deny this sweet little woman her business, but nevertheless, she had to get home.

“Actually, I’m sorry,” she began. “But the fact is I’m lost. I’m not even sure where I am in the direction of…”

“Oh, you poor thing,” said Granny Royce. “You just sit down and let me fix you some tea, or something. You must be cold.”

“Really, thank you, but I’m okay,” Melinda said, gently. “I just need to use the phone, if I could, or if you’ve got a map, even that would be lovely. I really only live a couple of hours from here…” She trailed off, not knowing if she was even right about that. She easily could have driven those five-plus hours in the wrong direction entirely.

“Oh dear,” said the little woman, sadly. “I’m sorry, honey, but the phone lines are down. As for a map, well…I used to have one, and if I look I still might, but it’s probably quite out of date by now. The highway moved since then, I know that much.”

Melinda’s heart sank. How could her luck get any worse? No phone, cell or land line, and no map. What could she do? She had to get back home. She was expected to work at 8 AM tomorrow. And why were the phone lines down? The weather was coldish but clear. Were they fixing a line nearby?

She told Granny Royce the name of her town, but Granny only said “Believe it or not, I’ve never heard of that town. What did you say the name was?” She told her again. “No, doesn’t ring a bell. I’m sorry. But I could not say which direction it’s in. Why don’t you stay the night, sweetie. I’ll give you a discount for your trouble.”

“Thank you. That’s very kind of you. But I have work tomorrow and I need to get back home. I’m not even sure why I’m out tonight. The only reason I had doesn’t seem to matter anymore.”

“Honey, I wouldn’t advise trying to drive back that far tonight,” Granny Royce said. “Why, it’s almost three in the morning, and you’ve not had any sleep. Maybe the lines will be up in the morning, and you can call your work and let them know you’ll be late.”

“That won’t work, either,” she replied. “I’m the opener. No one will be there. No, I’m sorry, I’ve really got to leave. I’ll head in the other direction until I find the road I was on.”

At that, Granny Royce’s expression, already one of kind concern, seemed to shift somewhat, to one of fear. She paused, looking at Melinda as though she wanted to say something else to keep her inside. Finally she said, reluctantly, “Alright, honey, if you’re sure. Just you be careful, now. Don’t speak to nobody until you’re back on the road.”

That last warning seemed a little silly. After all, what was Melinda, a little girl? She thanked Granny Royce for her kindness and headed back to the car.

About halfway to the car she remembered thinking she saw something moving in the trees. Her eyes scanned both sides of the secluded little cleared area she was in, looking for anything that appeared to be moving on its own, rather than being blown by the slight wind. She saw nothing. Satisfied, she headed for her car.

All four tires were flat. Goddammit! She leaned down and saw long slash marks on each tire. Someone in this little slice of Green Acres had slashed her tires in the time it took her to find out that she had no way of contacting anyone tonight.

Kids from a local farmhouse, gotta be, she thought grimly. Nothing else to do, so you might as well go out at night and slash tires. She stopped and let the reality sink in. She wasn’t going anywhere tonight. She had no choice now; she had to stay the night here until morning, when hopefully the phone lines would be up and she could call someone from work to ask them to go in for her, and then AMA to get her tires dealt with.

She sighed, then walked back in the house. She could hear Granny Royce as she was walking back to her room. She had already turned off the lights. Resigned to her fate, Melinda rang the little bell again.

“That you, miss?” she heard Granny Royce call.

“Yes, it’s me,” she answered. “Sorry to be a bother. My name is Melinda Orton. Sorry I never mentioned it before. I guess I will take a room for the night, if the offer’s still good.”

“Oh, of course it is, deary,” said Granny Royce, re-entering the room and turning the lights back on. “Melinda. Oh, that’s such a pretty name, honey. Well. Let’s get you situated. You put your name and arrival time in the book there and I’ll get you a key. All the boarding rooms are on the second floor, and there’s only a couple left.”

“There are others here?” This was surprising. Not a single car had been in the front lawn when she pulled in.

“Oh, yes, Miss Melinda.” Granny was puttering around in the adjacent room. “Mr. Norris, young Calvin, there’s a few of us here.” She came back out with a key in her hand. “Just out of curiosity, what made you change your mind?” She seemed to brighten as she asked the question, as though relieved that Melinda would stay after all.

“Oh, it’s probably just local kids getting kicks,” she said. “But I found my tires slashed.”

Granny stopped suddenly, her face twisted with concern and worry. Then she resumed, as though nothing was wrong. “Nothing to be done for it, I suppose,” she said, with an err of sadness.

“Well, not until morning, at any rate,” said Melinda. “Then hopefully the lines will be up.”

“Oh,” said Granny Royce, distractedly. “Yes, hopefully.” She led Melinda up the darkened staircase into an empty, quiet hall.

Or perhaps not so quiet. From one end of the hall came the muffled sound of someone crying.

Whoever it was, they were crying softly, not with anger, or petulance, or fear, but with deep sadness. It sounded as if crying was something this person was used to, but they were still unable to stop.

“Who is that?” she asked, pointing in the direction the crying was coming from.

“Oh, pay that no mind, honey,” said Granny. “That’s just Mr. Norris. He’s been like that a while. Older man, you understand. Not all there.” She tapped her temple.

“I understand,” Melinda replied, but wondered privately how an old, out-of-touch man would wind up at a road house. “Has he been here long?”

“A while, I’d say,” answered Granny. “Don’t really recall how long, exactly.”

How does he pay for room and board? “I guess he doesn’t drive,” she said to the old woman. “Actually, it doesn’t look like anyone else here has a car.”

Granny started at this, looking up with an almost guilty expression. “Oh, well,” she said. “That kind of thing is the business of the guests. I don’t ask about such things.” She turned the key in the lock of the room she had led Melinda to, and opened the door. Turning on the light, she showed Melinda the quaint little room. Melinda thought it looked like stepping into the past. She could swear this room would have looked modern in the early fifties, at the earliest.

Come to think of it, so could the rest of this place, she thought. No wireless service, no computer, that old bell. And those magazines, they looked new, but…

That thought was cut off as Granny put the key on the nightstand and started in with instructions. “Now, the bathroom is down the hallway there. You’ll be sharing with the whole floor, so please bare that in mind if you have to go. There’s a shower schedule on the door, as well. First come, first serve. You just add your name to the first available line and that’s the order the showers are in. I wouldn’t worry about that, if I were you, though. I’m sure you’ll be first in line. I get up at 6 AM sharp every morning and start breakfast, but you come on down whenever you’re ready and I’ll whip something up for you. Oh, and one last thing, my dear. I would strongly advise you not to leave the house until sun-up. You just never know what could happen out there. In the dark.”

“Of course,” she replied. I’d never go out there in the dark if I didn’t have to…She stopped that train of thought right out of the gate.

After a few moments, she was alone. Alone, without anything to wear to bed, and nothing to shower, brush her teeth, or hair with in the morning. She sat on the bed and looked out the window, which faced front. Her car still sat where she had left it, the only thing for miles that seemed like part of her world. And an expensive, over-large paperweight until I can get a hold of someone, she thought bitterly.

Despite the homeyness of the room, she felt an unwillingness to rise and shut off the light. Somehow the thought of going to sleep in this backward little room seemed unthinkable. So instead, she continued to sit and stare out the window.

A figure in black detached itself from the shadows of the trees and made its way to her car. The hell?! She jumped up and ran at the window. The figure was tall, and seemed to be wearing a cloak made of night. She saw as its arm extended. In its hand was a long, jagged dagger. It dragged the dagger across the side of her car, leaving a long gash-mark in the paint and metal.

“Hey!” she shouted. The figure kept dragging the dagger. She reached for the window to open it. It wouldn’t budge! She looked for a lock, but couldn’t see one. “Hey!” she yelled again. This time the figure raised its head. She could see the glint of two eyes under the hood. The figure raised the dagger, slowly, determinedly. It pointed it straight at her face.

She leaped away from the window and ran for the door. A noise on the other side stopped her. Footsteps. Dragging, shambling footsteps. And crying. The sound of a person for whom deep, longing sadness is a way of life. Mr. Norris! She waited. Somehow, she just felt that she should let the old man pass before she opened the door.

Before he got very far, however, she heard other footsteps, these much quicker and lighter, run up the stairs and stop near the door of her room. “Stop it!” hissed Granny Royce. “Go back in your room right now! You know better. She can’t see you yet. Hopefully she won’t have to at all. Now you go back in there. You’ve got no business being out at this hour anyway.”

What on Earth? How could that sweet old woman talk to another human that way, let alone an old man with a foggy mind? She almost opened the door right then, but somehow her hand stopped, and waited until the shuffling, crying man had made his way back down the hallway. She heard his door open.

She opened her own door just in time to see his foot, shod in a well-worn house-shoe, slide into his room. The door closed softly after him. That poor man, she thought. But now she was determined to find out what was going on. The punk outside in the Halloween costume slashing up her car, followed by Granny yelling at an old man, made her begin to understand that not all was well here.

She went back down to the front desk area, which was completely unlit except for the moonlight and porch light coming through the window. There was, however, a light on near the back room that Granny Royce had emerged from before. Melinda paused to take a look outside the front window. The maniac with the dagger was nowhere to be seen for the moment, but she was now determined that it was he that she had seen moving through the trees. He could have killed me!

She strode in the direction of the light, seeing that it was the light to the kitchen. She kept going, expecting to find Granny Royce still puttering about with whatever an old inn-keeper did with herself during the early hours of the morning.

Instead, she found Granny sitting with a young man of about twenty. He had dark hair, and a scruff of stubble, and was wearing a dark brown corduroy shirt and khaki’s, along with a pork-pie hat. He looked like he was ready to go sell newspapers on a street-corner in the thirties. He was quietly sipping tea while Granny was admonishing him from the other end of the table.

“Now that was a horrible thing to say!” she said. “When I was your age, young men minded their manners!”

“That’s a laugh, talking about my age,” muttered the young man with a sneer. “And just how old are you? Do you even remember?”

“Calvin Davidson, you are trouble, young man,” she hissed back. Neither had noticed Melinda yet. “One of these days you’re going to say something you’ll regret.”

“Oh, come on, Granny, what could I possibly say that will make things worse than they already are?” demanded Calvin. “I mean, look at old Mr. Norris up there! Both of us are ol…um, hullo, miss. I didn’t know we had anyone else here.” He had just seen Melinda.

“Uh, hi,” she said. She had the feeling she’d walked in on an old argument the two of them had had many times, and that did not concern her. Her fear and anger were forgotten for the moment. Calvin had been talking to Granny like a sullen kid, but something about what they were saying seemed…wrong.

“Can I help you, Melinda?” asked Granny Royce. “Is there something wrong with your room?”

That brought her back. “No,” she said. “The room is fine. But nothing else is! I mean, what on Earth do you even have a road house out here where it seems like no one ever stops? Why are most of the rooms full even though mine is the only car out there? Why did I hear you talking to Mr. Norris like he was a dog? And why would you want to make sure I didn’t see him?”

She got no further before Calvin cut her off. “Good lord, she’s not even been here a night and she can see it. Why did you even let her in, Granny? Why don’t you just bolt the door? Hell, if I could go take down that sign don’t you think I would have, by now? Lord love a duck.”

There’s something you don’t hear many young men say, thought Melinda. She decided to ignore Calvin for the moment, otherwise.

“And besides that, there’s someone out there! He’s the freak who slashed my tires and he’s been out there messing up my car since then! And you can’t even call the police! Are you gonna tell me you’ve never had vandals out here before?”

There was a long pause in the room. Neither Granny, nor Calvin, seemed willing to break it. Calvin scratched at his neck. For the first time, Melinda noticed a red slash at his throat, half-hidden by his collar. It looked like either a very fresh scar or a slightly healed wound.

“Listen, miss, I don’t know your name,” he finally said.

“Melinda,” she told him.

“Melinda,” he repeated. “Melinda, I think you should sit down. I have to tell you something that you may find…troubling.”

Melina did not like how he said that. She also didn’t like the way his tone had switched from sullen child to serious adult. He looked several years her junior, but he was talking to her like he was her uncle, or her boss.

He swallowed a sip of tea, and sighed. Then he looked her straight in the face and said: “The reason I don’t have a car out there is that when I got here, no one my age, in my line of work, would have owned a car. It would have seemed like an impossible dream.”

“What…what are you talking about?” she asked, hesitantly.

“I worked in a textile mill,” he said. “The mill was shut down by the time I got here. Most businesses were. So I struck out on my own; a drifter looking for what work I could find. And I stopped here. Forever.”

“Businesses were shut down…I don’t understand,” said Melinda. “We’re having a rough time of it right now, but businesses are mostly staying open…”

“Not then, they weren’t,” said Calvin, sadly. “I arrived here…in 1929.”

Melinda blinked. Something had exploded behind her eyes.

“This place was new, then,” said Granny. “My man and I had just opened it. And young Mr. Calvin was a sweet young lad of sixteen. I offered to take him on as hired help over my husband’s objections. Well, my husband was a well-meaning man, but he knew how to pinch a penny. T’was a year after I took Calvin on that Mr. Royce died. Calvin and I have been here ever since. And every few years or so, someone joins us.”

“Yep,” Calvin broke in. “Miss Tillie was first; she was a woman of ill repute who ran here, pregnant and scared that the man who’d run her trade up in New York was gonna find her and kill her. She and that baby…” He broke off, now seeming on the point of tears.

“And then,” said Granny. “There was Mr. Standish. He was a traveling minister. He doesn’t travel anymore.”

“Mr. Norris got here in ’69,” said Calvin. “His story is probably the worst. He was a…well, he was a bank-robber, you see. Carried a pistol. And he didn’t like learning how long we’d all been here.” He paused, stood and walked to the kitchen window. “He tried to leave on his own, you see. He ain’t the first to try it. That was me, actually. I warned him not to try, but he wouldn’t listen. But when he got outside…and he met him…”

“Calvin!” hissed Granny. “We don’t talk about this!”

“She’s gotta know,” said Calvin. “There’s no point in her finding out slowly.”

“There’s still a chance for her!” said Granny in a stage whisper. “All she has to do is wait until morning…”

“She’s not going to wait until morning,” said Calvin, with some remorse in his voice. “No one ever waits until morning. The fact that she came down here is proof enough of that. Besides, what good would that have really done her? Her car is useless. We have no phones here. There was no phone when this place went up, and there won’t never be a phone here. You know that.”

“Okay, everyone, stop!” Melinda shouted. “That’s enough! Now, you can’t keep me prisoner here, and I have no intention of staying any longer. Only that knife-wielding maniac out there is keeping me from running up the road this minute! Now, I need to know what’s really going on here and I need to know it now!”

“We’ve been telling you,” Calvin said. “Granny may not want you to know everything, but you need to. Because you won’t be leaving. Oh, we’re not trying to keep you prisoner. I don’t even care if you run out that door right now. But you’ll never leave this house again afterward.”

“Like hell I won’t!” yelled Melinda.

“Listen, child!” said Granny, rising from her spot at the table. “Listen, please! None of us mean you harm, my dear, not even Mr. Norris. There’s scant he can do anymore, and he knows it. That’s why he’s up there crying all the time. But we’re stuck here, all of us. I hoped there was a chance for you to run for it in the morning, but Calvin’s right. There’s no guarantee you’d be safe in the morning, anyhow.”

“What…the…hell…is wrong with this place!?” choked out Melinda. She was beginning to break down. she could feel the tears welling in her eyes.

“It was about a month after Mr. Royce died,” said Calvin. “When he came. He was wearing that long, black robe, and carrying that ridiculous dagger. I saw him when I was trimming the hedges in the back. I told him he needed to get out of here, because I didn’t like his look. He…he moved so fast I never saw it coming. And he got me, from here…” Calvin touched his neck. “To here.” He touched his lower abdomen on the opposite side from the neck slash. He began to undo his shirt.

Melinda almost vomited. Under his shirt was a long, ugly slash that went deep…and was still seeping blood. She could see bone, muscle and intestines wriggling within that mangled ruin.

“I died that night,” said Calvin. “But then I didn’t. The next thing I knew, I was being dragged into the house by Granny, and when I woke up I nearly scared her to death. She was sure that I was gone. The thing is, I was. But I was awake. I could talk, walk, do anything I could while alive. Well, except take any enjoyment or nourishment from food or drink anymore. I still drink that tea because it keeps my skin from turning ash-grey. I learned that about fifty years ago.”

“He didn’t go away, though,” Granny broke in. “I went out to deal with him, carrying my axe. He took my axe and buried it in my back. I won’t show you the wound, honey. Calvin shouldn’t have shown you his, either. No one should have to see it.”

“But that’s how he works, Melinda,” continued Calvin. “He’s got that knife, but if you try to use a weapon on him, he just…moves like he does and takes it from you. You never stand a chance. He’ll use whatever weapon you try to take him down with to end you. Mr. Norris learned that the hard way.”

“This…this is not happening!” Melinda was ready to break down. She had to hold it together. She had to get out of here, somehow. Nothing about this was right. Nothing about it could be real. It was all a dream; too much didn’t make sense. Her father calling her out of the blue. Her leaving to go to him without a second thought. Getting lost so quickly, and so irreversibly. No cell phone service anywhere on this road. This place, everything about it! She was dreaming; that had to be it. But if so, she was gonna survive this dream.

She turned and ran for the stairs. Her purse was still in her room, but she was going to grab it and go. She’d had enough. Protesting voices began babbling behind her; she cared not one whit.

Mr. Norris was waiting at the top of the stairs.

Contrary to Granny Royce’s description of him, he was not old at all. No more than about forty. But she saw instantly what she meant by “not all there”.

The top half of Mr. Norris’s head looked normal, like a reasonably attractive man with dark hair peppered with grey here and there. His eyes, a clear green, were moist with fresh tears.

The lower half of his face was a ruin of bone fragments, shredded muscle and blood. So much blood. His left side was similarly destroyed. His arm hung on a few hanging strings of muscle, his hip was just as much a mess of bone and blood as his face was. He kept his one good hand on the bannister as he shuffled toward her.

Behind him stood a young woman in a bra and a pair of panties. Her stomach was cut open, and looking out of the wound with bright, intelligent eyes was the mangled remains of a baby.

Melinda turned and bolted for the front door. Her hand had just closed around the knob when Calvin rushed up to her, placing his freezing cold hand over hers.

“They’re not going to hurt you,” he said quickly. “But he will. If you step out for so much as a moment, he will kill you, and it will hurt. And it will go on hurting. Forever. After a while you learn to function with the pain, but it never goes away.”

Sobbing, she asked the question she’d been afraid to ask since coming here. “Who is he?”

“We don’t know,” said Granny, from behind Calvin. “He just…came here, and he won’t go away. He likes to watch us, and do things to incite us to come out again. As soon as someone does, he hurts them more. But no matter how many times he kills us, we don’t die. Believe me when I say, we all wish we could.”

Melinda had had enough of this. She pushed Calvin away and threw open the door.

He was standing on the porch. The knife was held out in front of him, just at face-level. Melinda ran into him at a rush, the knife puncturing her right eye and its tip sliding on through, out the other side. She just managed to see the grinning, pure-white face of her killer, before everything went black.

A few hours later, the house erupted with screams from upstairs, as Melinda awoke to a world of pain, the like of which she’d never known.

Credit To – WriterJosh

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Shadow Over Glass

February 17, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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When I was twelve, I gazed out from the window in my bedroom, which was on the second floor of my house. My body was well-warmed, but the sight locked my head and eyes in place as though they were chilled solid.

The frozen lake was lit in a pure, near-fluorescent light. The moon was hovering in a clear sky, shifting the the usual darkness to a form of near-daylight. A few scattered stars surrounded the gleaming sphere, but my attention was focused on the landscape below. At the other edge of the cove was a surrounding tree line, formed into a jagged silhouette.

I examined this image for a few days, until the moon appeared to be at its brightest. I stopped watching. I walked.

With my first step onto the solid water, the flustering cold of the air disappeared from attention. For the first time in my life, I had seen the moon cast my shadow. It followed me, along the new tundra that was the outdoors, my outdoors. I marched across the entire cove, sensing a newfound energy from the different land. I became numb to the winds, both physically and mentally. By the time I returned home, only just then did I realize my skin turned a vicious pale, even beneath my coat, gloves, and boots.

This was my lone “winter activity”. I wasn’t a fan of the cold outdoors, even at a young age, but walking on that ice made me forget my disapproval. My parents were, to say the least, quite alarmed when I told them of my first adventure. I was an twelve year old wandering alone, after all, let alone the fact it was in the winter night (with deadly water beneath my feet, of course). As years past, I began to sneak out while they slept. They eventually accepted my adventures, seeing that I hadn’t yet drowned or froze to death (or both).

I continued my night walks for years, on that same cove. An average night was satisfying, but the full moon was always a must. I walked during those bright nights at every opportunity, for almost five years.

After that time, I was stopped.

In the year of 1998, while I was seventeen, a severe, powerful ice storm overtook much of the state. Freezing rain and sleet fell at a near constant rate for a good few days. Homes lost power for weeks, roads became unusable, and school was closed for much of the recovery time. I spent almost the entire duration indoors. I was left sleepless most nights, listening to the pounding of frozen drops colliding with the roof. Every window in the home seemed to crack every few minutes. It was unlike any winter weather I had experienced, still to this day (and I live in Maine, for god sakes). “It’s almost supernatural”, my father had joked, stumbling inside after being pelted by sleet.

When the raining cold stopped, school was still closed due to the roads, as were many stores and town departments. Power was still in a blackout. When I wasn’t gathering wood with my father, I spent most of the time peering out the window. The lakefront, along with the woods, became a cross between a wasteland and a glass exhibit. The open sunlight casted through the frozen branches, trees, and surfaces, lighting up the area in an array of glimmers and reflective specks. Large areas of the lake were covered in a uneven, clear layer of ice, while the tree lines at the opposite shore were washed in a shade of white.

A night later, the full moon made its appearance. I saw the light glow from my window. It was about an hour before I would sleep, but it was the chance for me to see the lake in a way I never had. I couldn’t miss it. It was ten thirty. Like many times before, my parents were asleep. I walked out into the night.

The world outside was a foreign, frostbitten land. The sky was clear, allowing the moon to cast its full gleam along the ice and surroundings. The branches of trees became hubs of sparkles, every twig reflecting their own light. Other objects, both natural and man-made, were coated in a layer of fine ice. The snow, which crunched and shattered with my steps, was wet and heavy.

Despite the frozen features, the temperature was, at the time, rather warm. I felt no wind upon my face. As I left my yard, onto the cove, a few drops dripped from a branch above, onto my jacket and neck.

The solid lake was as white as ever. I couldn’t make out my shadow on the glare ice, though. It was my reflection that became visible. It was dark and shaded, but I made out the minor features of my form. I could spot the white tag on the bottom of my coat, as well as the darkish red color of the coat’s material. I spotted the outlines of my eyes, along with the frame of my facial structure. Though it first fascinated me, it became rather ominous. I turned away. The almost startling sight still held itself in my memory.

As I rounded the shores of the silent cove, I looked to the center of the area. I found myself squinting. There was a small, darker section of the ice, one that contrasted against the surrounding white. By the sight of it (in the night), I expected it to be a section of open water, but this didn’t make sense to me. The entire lake had been frozen from end-to-end for weeks.

I moved closer, in which the sight continued to appear the same. I reached the center of the cove, and paused. What lied ten feet away from me was a single, circular space of black, an area no more than five feet in diameter. It was a self-contained abyss, making no reflection with the moon, no connection with the ice that circled it.

It appeared solid, as no cracks sounded as I stepped around it. The sheer unknown of the surface only drew me in, sending a curious tingle about my limbs as I was standing no more than three feet from it.

A calm breeze brushed against me. The only matter that stood between myself and the black surface was a space of cool air, and the only object within a hundred yards of me was a frozen tree.

Two feet.

A nervous twitch went through me, as I made another step. “It can’t shatter”, I told myself.

One foot.

On the dark surface, there was no reflection.

My right foot pressed down on the space. Nothing changed, in stability, terrain, or sound. After pressing and tapping with the same foot, my overcurious mind convinced me to step on with both feet. I listen.

The moment both of my feet hit the surface, a lightheadedness set about me. At the time, I speculated that it was an onset of my own stress and imagination. I took relieving breaths, knowing that I was still above water. Though the panic subsided, I was still at question as to what this unknown, dark surface was. I thought about what could’ve been thrown here from the ice storm, but no explanation seemed plausible. A patch of frozen tar? A small container of oil that had been blown onto the cove? I knew finding it out would be meaningless, so I looked up, and stepped away.

I locked in place. The light breeze stopped.

In the distance stood a shrouded, oval-shaped silhouette. It stood in place, immobile, making no apparent intentions on moving. Against the backdrop of coated trees and glare ice, its details were invisible.

I trembled. It moved, thrusting forward by inches. Even in the distance, I could make out that it was twitching, in a strange manner. Its form went out of shape every second, warping into different patterns of splatters and curves.

A small, quiet portion of me wanted to investigate. The louder, more sensible part of me knew that one weird discovery was enough for the night. I turned, making large steps in the opposite direction. I started to run. My eyes adjusted to the dim image of the shore. I stopped when it came into focus.

My home wasn’t there. There was only a line of trees. I swung about in circles, peering in all directions. From north, to south, to southwest, the sight was the same:

Trees. I was in a natural cage, with a fence of towering wood.

The moon continued to stream its unblocked, white glare. My eyes were almost strained from the light, which suggested that it had become brighter in the past minutes. The stars were far more numerous. I spotted no constellations, only an infinite array of specks.

My head went in circles, searching for an exit, opening, anything different in the prison. I became nauseous, dizzy from the overwhelming restraint and stress arising in my system. I looked back to the center of the cove, shielding my eyes from the moon’s gleam. The figure was closer, making consistent, full steps towards my position. The form appeared human-like, then. It still shook, stretching and contracting its limbs as it made mangled steps towards in my direction.

For perhaps an entire minute, I stared into the dark form that drifted closer to me. It was no more than fifty feet away, then. It had begun to wobble less, but it then started shifting colors, flashing in an array of different shades and patterns.

I sprinted. I moved away from the form, but there was nowhere else. Gathering any sense I could in the panic, my attention flashed to the black surface, which still lied in the center of the cove. The being was close by the spot, yet I still sprinted towards it. The figure didn’t turn, but floated to the position, in front of the hole. It was looking at me, as I ran.

The sky then began to move. I wasn’t just the stars, though. The entire space above started to melt and warp down, collapsing like a soaked oil painting. The moon started to sprout black, spiked veins. The world was growing darker. I kept concentrated to the ground in order to keep sane. My steps felt heavier, crushing against the ice, which was then cracking under my feet.

I kept running. It was clear that there was no escaping this being. Whether I would be stopped cold or pass right through him, either fate was preferable to the sensual hell. A booming roar sounded from what seemed from above. As I neared the form, a distorted screeching clawed at the back of my head. It was unmoving, no longer twitching or shifting forms.

Fifteen feet.

I made a final glance at the sky. It was then a chaotic, disfigured slew of black with white speckles. Whether it had continued to melt or started to whirl and twist, became impossible to determine. The being had more detail. I could see it, even in the dwindling light. It was around my height, six feet tall, dressed in darker, more thiner layers. It had a face. It was white, rather pale, with an age that appeared young, not a full adult, but close.

Five feet.

I nearly stopped, in both question and terror. I could make out its clothing; a black coat, with red lines of color, along with blue boots and dark, grayish pants. It’s hair was a brown, short, tapered near the top. I discovered these features all at once, in a second, as they were familiar in the worst possible way.

Three feet.

Right before my feet dove on the dark hole, I looked at myself. It was standing with a confident smirk as I made a collision with it. Just as I passed through the mirror-self, it opened its eyes, which had remained closed until then.

One foot.

Its eyes were two circles of white, holding the image of the corrupted, veined moon.

The screeching, along with the booming, had disappeared in a second. I felt my face impact a layer of snow. I kept my eyes closed. I heard a gust of wind, sweeping about in an open space. I stood, and opened my eyes to whatever fate I had been left to. I was in the cove, my cove. I could see my house on the nearby shore, as well as the opening to the rest of the lake in the opposite direction.

Safe to say, I immediately went home, but not before checking the ice behind me. For the first time in my life, as I turned, I prayed. I hoped of seeing an open, clear space of ice.

The hole still lied there, its own, self-contained abyss.

I sprinted back home, without glancing back. I went indoors, and strut up to the supposed safety of my own room. I felt at the walls, at solid objects. They were real. I went upstairs, and glanced into my parent’s bedroom. They were both still asleep.

To no surprise, I didn’t sleep, but I also didn’t move. I didn’t look out the window, look at the shadows on my wall, or turn to adjust my uncomfortable, restless self. I only shook. Soon after, I began to sweat. The weather was still rather warm.

Winter was colder, for the rest of the season. My family and I spent much of our time indoors, while I wasn’t at school or work. I didn’t develop any fear of the outdoors, which surprised me. I could still go outside without anxiety, even during the night. I never told my parents of my experience, nor any friends, aside from the occasional reference that only I could understand.

There’s the obligatory “all just a dream” theory, but to trivialize my fears and experience of that night is an idea I can’t bring myself to. I want to. God, I wish I could.

There were no further trips onto the evening ice. Winter has became a period that could go without my care. I felt no more joy in it. I felt pressure in it, actually. The smallest details seemed to draw the most vivid scenes and memories. Summer came, eventually, in which the ice melted back to its former liquid, along with the other frozen layers. In the warm waters of the cove, I saw no disturbances, nor unusual patterns. It was part of the ice when it arrived, so I suppose it left all the same. I don’t wish to think otherwise.

I care nothing about that black void, though. It’s not what bothers me. There are two sights that send me off mental balance, keeping me in a near-constant internal fear. They started from the day after that night, and it will continue for as long as I have eyes to witness them.

The first is the moon. I can’t appreciate it anymore. I only view it as an eye, one that mocks me, looking down upon my vulnerable self. I can’t help but feel, somewhere, there’s a mouth that fits with it. I have nightmares of it laughing. I have a memory of it smirking.

The second object is my reflection.

Or more so lack of.

Credit To – Emeryy (Richard S.)

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Here You Go

February 16, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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On the last night of my honeymoon, my husband Ricky and I were soaking in the beach resort’s outdoor hot tub. It was December, you see, and there were maybe only five rooms occupied in the whole resort. Although the fire pit was burning hot and bright one lot over, no one but us was outside. My new husband and I felt ballsy and awesome and grown-up for braving the near-freezing temperature to relax in the hot tub.

“This is so deluxe,” I said on a long sigh. I sat against a jet and let it pummel my lower back.

“I know,” said Ricky, stretching his arms out behind us and craning his head toward the sky. “You can see every star up there. You don’t see that in the city.”

A gust blew over the hot tub and whirled the steam around, creating mini tornados. On the other side of the dunes behind us the ocean slammed against the shore and hissed as it receded. I smiled, blissful.

“Our friends are going to be so jealous when we tell them about this,” I said. “I wish we could get a picture of us in this thing so I could post it on Facebook.”

“Yeah, yeah,” was Ricky’s absent-minded reply. “But we don’t have our camera or our phones or anything out here with us though, so…” My husband didn’t care to show off like I did.

“Yeah.” I sat silent for a moment. “I might run back to the room really quick to get my phone.”

“No. Nope.” He put a hand on my arm. “We’re on our honeymoon. Not to mention a much-needed vacation. We promised we were going to cut ourselves off from the world for the week, didn’t we?”

“Meh,” I said in weak agreement.

“Right. Let our friends use their imaginations when we tell them about it. And let us enjoy this moment. We’ll only go on our honeymoon once.”

I sighed and sat back against his outstretched arm. “All right. Right. You’re right.” I closed my eyes. We stayed out there, not talking, until the timer for the jets went off, and then we scurried back into the warm beacon of our building.

The next morning, after we’d been awake for a while, Ricky noticed something square poking in under our door. Thinking it was the bill of the balance for our stay, he went over to retrieve it.

“What’s the damage?” I called over. He didn’t respond for several minutes. “That bad, huh?” I asked, grinning.

He turned and walked over to me. His expression was disturbed and he had gone pale.

“What?” I asked. “What’s wrong?”

He was holding a Polaroid picture of us from the night before. On the white part at the bottom, scrawled in black Sharpie, were the words HERE YOU GO.

It was taken from behind.

Credit To – bjorenov814

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Misanthrope

February 15, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Call me a misanthrope, an introvert, whatever. The fact is, I always thought I preferred being alone.

I had a couple of friends. Well, mainly acquaintances. People I worked with. People I lived near. Family.

But I had tried doing the companionship thing, and it never seemed to be for me. I had a girlfriend for two years, but she left me because I rarely wanted to go out with her friends, preferring to stay home, just the two of us. The feeling that was most prominent after she left was relief.

I also tried hanging out with a group of people I met online. As in, hanging out with them in the real world. I did this because my ex-girlfriend told me I needed to get out more, to meet people, to come out of my shell.

I realized after hanging out with them that I liked my shell better. Again, it’s not that I didn’t like them. I’m just not a hang-out kind of person. I’m not an Asperger’s patient or anything. I can have conversations, I can be friendly. I’ve stopped to help strangers on the side of the road who were having car trouble. I’ve helped people move who I barely knew. I’ve donated blood just because I could. I’ve volunteered at a homeless shelter. It’s just a matter of preferring to stay in on a Friday night with a good book, when having a group of friends would mean I’d feel obligated to go out instead.

I say all that to say that the loneliest I’d ever felt was when I was in a crowd of people, and I truly believed that the best feeling ever was the feeling of being alone.

That is, until this morning.

I woke up, and the first thing I noticed was that the power was out. I live in an older building just south of downtown. The kind of place where the carpet in the halls is stained all over with god-knows-what, the paint on the walls is chipped and peeling, in many places the ceiling is just a collection of exposed pipes, the elevators make odd noises like they’re straining on even the lightest load, and the whole place carries the heady bouquet of booze, cigarettes and weed. The power’s gone out before. The last time it happened, it didn’t come back on for two days. I had just gone grocery shopping the day before. Sucks having to throw out stuff you just bought.

So, when I woke, my first feeling was irritation. “They had better not take forever getting it back on this time,” I muttered. Now, where you live, the power probably mostly goes out only after a storm, fire or heavy snowfall. In my building, with wiring that was probably installed during the Ford administration and hadn’t really been upgraded since, the power could go out at any time of the year, and needed no outside catalyst to do so. So it never crossed my mind to wonder why, on a wet-but-not-stormy day in April, the power would go out like this.

I opened all my windows for light, but it didn’t help much, as it was pretty grey outside. The weather had been cloudy all week, with a few light showers, and even with my largest window open, I still couldn’t see much in my house, and my bathroom, which had no windows, was darker than a crypt.

My alarm clock was dead, of course, so I checked the time on my phone. I swore and leaped into the shower, not caring that the water was ice cold, and that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. Even if I walked out the door this very minute, I was going to be an hour late for work. I hate being late. I usually try to be at least fifteen minutes early. It’s a weird side-effect of introverts that we’re usually pretty anal retentive about being on time.

Throwing on some clothes, I bolted out the door, headed for the elevator. Mid-stride, I turned for the stairs, remembering almost too late that no power of course meant no elevator.

Now, this is probably when I first felt it; that sense of unease. I did my best to ignore it, because I wasn’t a child anymore, and feelings like that are just your mind running away on you. But it was hard to ignore, and not just because of the total darkness of the stairwell. It was because I realized at that point that I had not seen another human being that entire morning.

This, by itself, was not an alarming thing. I had often made it to the elevator before without seeing another person. However, while descending into the dark, holding my phone before me, LED light shining, I realized a couple of things that seemed out of place. First, I heard no noise coming from behind any of the other apartments’ doors, which I should have considering the air was off. Second, I was late. I usually left for work before the rush, but today I was leaving at the same time that a lot of other people should be. On an ordinary day, maybe some of them took the elevator and few took the stairs, but today, they all should be on the stairs with me.

When I got to the ground floor, things got even stranger. When I had first opened my windows, I had failed to notice just how still the morning was. But I noticed now.

The only cars on the street were parked. Not another soul was in sight. The businesses at street level didn’t appear open or closed; they were just dark and empty. I swallowed the lump of fear that was rising in my throat and told myself that there had to be a good reason for this. But my mind was refusing to accept that. It was 8:30 AM on a Tuesday. The streets should be deluged with cars, the sidewalks filled up with people. There should be noise, there should be life. But the only sound was the light wind that wailed between buildings.

The power was out on the block. That had to be it. Everyone was inside still, waiting for the power to come back on.

Well, I thought. If they can all wait inside, so can I. I went back into the building and stood in the dim gloom of the lobby as I called work.

One ring. Two. Three. Several more. Then voice mail. My boss’s bored voice saying “please leave a message” was the first voice other than my own that I had heard all morning.

I opened up a browser and started checking local news. But there wasn’t anything new since yesterday. In fact, my connection was sluggish and eventually dropped out completely. I tried calling a co-worker, the only co-worker whose number I had. He had been the one to offer it to me. Others were always trying to reach out. That wasn’t something I did.

He didn’t answer either. I began to wonder if the power outage was affecting the cell towers in the area. Could the power really be out for that wide an area?

I went back to the stairs, phone LED light on again, and began climbing. My apartment was on the eighth floor. I’m not in the best of shape, and my legs were starting to ache by the third flight. It was the fourth flight, though, when the light on my phone began to fade and then went out completely.

“No, no, no!” I whispered. I thumbed the home button. I then remembered that the phone had not charged during the night as it normally would have. There would have been just enough power left for the one phone call and momentary surfing, plus these trips with the light on. I must have ignored the low power warning, and now it was too late. The phone was a paperweight. “Piece of shit,” I muttered. Somehow I already knew to keep my voice to a whisper. I put the phone back in its clip and stood on the stairs for a moment, calming down.

That’s when I heard it. The sound of another set of footsteps, coming up the stairs behind me.

You’d think I would be glad to know that another person was still around. You’d think that after noticing how empty my world was all of a sudden, that I’d be relieved to know that I was not alone. And for a moment, I tried to tell myself that I was.

The footsteps were slow, inexorable. They echoed through the darkness like the slow drumbeat before a death march. They were somewhat soft, at first, though I could tell the feet that made their tread was heavy. But they were getting nearer. From their sound, they were less than two flights below me.

I didn’t think. I bolted up the stairs. I paused at the top of every flight to listen. They kept coming. I thought of calling out, but every instinct said that would be foolish. I tried telling myself it was just my misanthropy rearing its ugly head again, but this feeling wasn’t a mere wish to be by myself for a while.

Every sense I had told me that in this unnatural stillness, this unthinkable emptiness, that nothing should be moving. I had not heard so much as the bark of a dog from within this building. But something else was here besides me. I knew, at the core of my being, that it wasn’t supposed to be there.

I reached my floor and headed out into the hallway. I paused at the door after pulling it closed and listened. Those footsteps continued, not even having increased their pace. They sounded much closer.

The hallway was empty, as I knew it would be. I pulled myself away from the door and listened. My own heartbeat, hammering in my ears, and my heavy breathing were the only sounds I heard. There was a window at the end of the hallway, letting in dim grey light, but it was still hard to see. I began walking left. The hallway had an intersection up ahead. I turned right, the direction of my apartment, and kept walking.

Behind me, I heard the door to the stairwell open. The footsteps, still slow but unrelenting, started down the hallway. I waited. Maybe they had turned in the other direction. But no, they were getting louder. Coming toward me. I turned and walked quickly in the direction of my apartment. I didn’t run. If I ran, I would make more noise. I tried to keep my breathing quiet as well.

I reached my apartment, but still heard those footsteps behind me. At any moment their owner would turn the corner. I reached for my keys, but a new thought struck me.

The footsteps sounded close enough that this…person…could turn the corner just as I was closing the door. Then my one safe hiding place would be exposed. Thinking quickly, I turned and ran as quietly as I could in the same direction as before, heading for the other stairwell on this floor.

I made it there, and felt a moment’s elation as I realized that the sound of the footprints had receded somewhat. I could still hear them, but they were fainter, as though whoever this person was had become confused in their pursuit, or had headed in the wrong direction.

I quietly opened the stairwell door and pelted down the first flight, heading out into the hallway of the seventh floor. My plan was to circle around, head back up the other flight, and make it to my apartment while the owner of those footsteps was looking for me in the wrong place.

And then I began to feel a little silly. After all, why was I so convinced that this person was pursuing me? I was the only person I had seen today, but that was the unnatural thing, not the sudden appearance of another person. Somehow, some incident, a disaster or abduction or rapture, or whatever, had emptied my neighborhood, but left me behind, and if I was still here, why would I assume that no one else was? This person could just be someone else who lived on the eighth floor, likely just as confused and terrified as I was.

I shook my head and laughed at myself, but I stuck with my plan. I circled around the building, headed for the other stairwell. Reaching it, I began to climb up…

And I heard those steps again, coming down. They had found me.

I instantly flew back down the stairs and back into the hallway, running full tilt for the very stairs I had just come down, bolting back up them. I cautiously opened the door back on my floor, listening. No steps as of yet. All thoughts of the footsteps belonging to another confused, frightened person had left my mind. Those heavy treads did not belong to a person who was in the same situation as me. They did not sound frightened, or confused. They were purposeful. A purpose that I knew could not be good.

This time, I reached my apartment and managed to get inside. I locked the door, the deadbolt, and secured the chain on the door. I stood there for a second, feeling like that wasn’t enough, and finally put a chair under the knob. Then I went into the living room and huddled against the large window.

For a very long time, nothing happened. And then I heard them again. There was no doubt in my mind now that the footsteps were coming for me. They trod, persistently, inescapably closer, starting to slow further as they reached my apartment door.

They stopped. Just on the other side of my door, something waited, possibly listening for me, but knowing beyond a doubt that I was inside. I thought I could smell something from the hall. Something that smelled…hot. That’s the only way I can describe it. It smelled hot.

I waited. It waited. The silence was palpable. I felt that the air between us had solidified, waiting, as the world did, for the inevitable.

My doorknob rattled. First a little, then vigorously. I sat there, numb, my breath coming in short gasps, my heart beating so fast it felt like a continuous pressure in my chest.

Finally the rattling stopped. I slowly pulled myself away from the window and fired up my laptop. Unlike my phone, it had not been on all night and the battery was still fully charged.

As I have written this, the rattling at the door has returned three times. The last time was the most insistent, and was accompanied by a loud banging.

I don’t know if anyone is still out there to read this. I don’t even know how long the internet will continue to work. I never needed people before today, but I sure need them now. Being a misanthrope has its oddities, but no situation I’ve been in has been more odd than this.

I was alone, and did not want to be.

Now I’m not alone, and I desperately wish I was.

Credit To – WriterJosh

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